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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jul 29, 2009 8:37am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: COPYRIGHT FLAGS. These recent additions are copyright

A 2007 Tokyo district court decision established that for films of Japanese origin made before the current copyright law came into force in 1970, a previous copyright law applies. The previous law protects the film for the life of the director plus 38 year term. This was reinforced by a high court ruling in 2008.

Kurasawa died in 1998. In Japan, his films made before 1970 will enter the public domain at the end of 2036 and the films made after 1970 will enter the Japanese public domain 70 years after publication. Because these films are copyright in their source country they are copyright in the US, under URAA. Technically, US copyright will extend to the full 95 (plus any future extension) years from publication even after the films have entered the Japanese public domain.

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Poster: Ganbachi Date: Jul 29, 2009 11:47am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: COPYRIGHT FLAGS. These recent additions are copyright

OK. Shame. So where does the pre-1953 thing fit in? Lots of (usually) reputable sources are still touting that as law. Was it the case prior to this 2007 ruling or are we all confused racists in the west?

(I'm slightly miffed because I've spent some time & money tracking down rare Japanese 'Kaidan' movies and more time trying to get them translated and subbed and was going to upload some next month when they're finished)

Is there anything from Japan that can be uploaded apart from the Gamera and Starman films already here?

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jul 29, 2009 8:12pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: COPYRIGHT FLAGS. These recent additions are copyright

Japanese copyright law is extremely difficult to get a grasp of. I'm only just getting my head around it. There is a massive double standard in the way the rule of Japanese copyright law is exercised. For a long time it was generally believed that the 1970 changes to the structure of film copyright in Japanese copyright law superseded all previous laws. There were elements of national eligibility that allowed the owners of TOHO films to successfully challenge this precept.
The Japanese court ruling I mentioned earlier only applies to films of Japanese origin. Other Japanese court rulings have defended the position that all films from other countries have a copyright term in line with the 1970 and 2004 laws (50 years [1970 law] or 70 years [2003 law]). So any American or British movie from before 1953 is effectively public domain in Japan (they have rule of the shorter term) but a Japanese film from before 1970 is only PD if the director died before 1971.
But the catch is, if the film was not PD or otherwise ineligible before GATT/URAA, it will not enter the US Public Domain until its full US term has expired. So effectively the only Japanese movies that are PD in the US are ones where the director died before the beginning of 1958 or were published in the US before the beginning of 1923 or are otherwise exempt from GATT/URAA restoration if there are any.

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Poster: gzd Date: Jul 30, 2009 9:40am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: COPYRIGHT FLAGS. These recent additions are copyright

Then Nora Inu (http://www.archive.org/details/NoraInu1949) needs to be removed as well. It is part of the 'film noir' sub-collection.